SpeakOut is Truthout's treasure chest for bloggy, quirky, personally reflective, or especially activism-focused pieces. SpeakOut articles represent the perspectives of their authors, and not those of Truthout.
Carl Hart, PhD, a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, recently gave a compelling TEDMED Talk in which he dispelled the myths about drugs, drug use and drug misuse. In the talk, Hart eloquently discussed the negative influence that drug hysteria had on the flawed drug laws the United States grapples with today.
His unflinching, eye-opening talk mirrored his widely-renowned book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (HarperCollins, 2013), a groundbreaking memoir/science book which recently won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
On the 3-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall St. movement in Zuccotti Park, many people are wondering, "What has Occupy done?" Have protesters created any projects, models or solutions after their camp evictions? Below is a list of just 10 ongoing successes Occupiers around the world have began.
IN MEMORY OF MICHAEL BROWN: We will bring at least 500 UNARMED CIVILIAN t-shirts to Ferguson in an act of solidarity.
We have launched an initiative to print at least 500* UNARMED CIVILIAN t-shirts to bring to Ferguson, Missouri, which we will distribute publicly in an act of solidarity. We will document this action, share the footage, and amplify the voices of the people we meet in Ferguson through our social networks.
Immediately after Onondaga County prosecutor Jordan McNamara rested his case against DC peace and justice activist Eve Tetaz, DeWitt town judge David Gideon granted Ms. Tetaz’ motion to dismiss. Ms. Tetaz represented herself pro se with the support of DC attorney Mark Goldstone.
Ms. Tetaz had been arrested on April 28, 2013, along with 30 others as she stood reading aloud Preamble to the UN Charter and the First Amendment of the Constitution on the edge of the driveway leading into the Hancock Reaper drone base on East Molloy Rd., Town of De Witt. The prosecution’s video of Ms. Tetaz’ arrest showed the arresting officer grabbing those documents from her hands and tossing them aside.
We live in a time fraught with bad news. From the toll of violence and poverty to the escalating march of climate change, every week brings temptations to despair. Hope may actually be more beleaguered in the wake of a president who won the office in part by branding himself with it. Many have concluded that political participation has become a futile game.
For myself, I deal with potential despair by finding ways to act. And remembering that the doors to social change are never irrevocably closed, even in unimaginably difficult situations. Think of Nelson Mandela and his compatriots being told they would rot and die on Robben Island. Denied newspapers as a way of isolating them, they’d see a guard discard a newspaper he’d used to wrap his sandwich, and one of the prisoners would retrieve it, smuggle it under their shirt, and in a tiny coded script on toilet paper (the only paper they had), would circulate a story or headline that would give their compatriots courage.
If members of the US public were ever to wonder what the other 95% of humanity thinks about them, would it be better to break that harsh truth to them gently or just to blurt it out?
I'm going to go with the latter.
The way the United States has chosen to approach the chaos of the Middle East has far more frightening implications than we think, especially in terms of the world our children will inherit. If we are honest about how our adversaries perceive us, we will have to admit that there is a grand cycle of violence and insult operating, in which we ourselves are implicated up to our necks.
If we are to have any chance of breaking this potentially endless cycle (our military bases in Saudi Arabia leading to 9-11; 9-11 leading to the second Gulf War, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; the second Gulf War helping to create ISIS; ISIS beheading our journalists; President Obama suckered into reluctant bellicosity etc. etc. etc), we have to start by admitting our own role in it—something extremely difficult for our culture, and therefore almost impossible for our political leaders.
Over 10,000 women from the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland gathered May 12-15, 2014, in Malmo, Sweden for the "Nordisk Forum: New Actions on Women’s Rights." As a regional conference, it was a strategy to augment the work done in the World Conferences on Women that had been regularly taking place every five years from 1975 until 1995.
Due to the worldwide negative effects of conservatism on the status of women, particularly reproductive health and sex education, the Executive Director of United Nations Office for Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told the conference that in the foreseeable future, there would be no world conference of women similar to the 1995 Beijing women's conference. She suggested that a world conference on women could jeopardize the positive steps that have been taken over the last 30 years by United Nations resolutions on the rights of women. She cited a "failure of national and international leadership in which progress and gains for women are being reduced or are going backward."
Two winners of the Nobel Peace Prize on Monday urged President Obama to halt legal action by his administration against New York Times journalist James Risen.
In a statement addressed to Obama, the Nobel Peace Laureates -- Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and Jody Williams of the United States -- said that they “urge a swift end to the US government’s legal threat of imprisonment and harsh fines for New York Times reporter James Risen, who has covered issues of war and peace.”
Today, the Progressive Change Institute and a trans-partisan coalition of surveillance whistleblowers, civil liberties advocates, and organizations representing millions of Americans are urging Congress to reject the Senate version of the USA Freedom Act.
The civil liberties coalition's joint letter outlines numerous concerns with the legislation, including ambiguous language that is open to abuse, the failure to include provisions specifically protecting the rights of Americans, blanket legal immunity for corporations that help spy on Americans, and the reauthorization of key sections of the USA PATRIOT Act relating to intelligence gathering. As the coalition's letter states: